High-functioning depression is characterised by a persistently low mood, and is generally experienced by individuals as apathy for things they used to enjoy and a general feeling that something in their life is missing.
However, they may appear to be a productive, successful individual to outsiders. Often, those with high-functioning depression have chronic unhappiness that does not interfere with their ability to work or function, but it does interfere with their ability to experience joy and pleasure in their life across dimensions.
What are some of its symptoms?
Common symptoms include loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex; persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings; fatigue and decreased energy; guilt and anxiety, self-critical behaviour; pessimism or general unhappiness as well as loss of confidence. Whenever you experience these symptoms continuously and it begins to impact your work, social life or hobbies, it is important to seek help from a qualified medical practitioner or mental health professional.
Can high-functioning depression be treated?
Those who experience high-functioning depression often do not receive the proper treatment. This is because high-functioning depression is difficult for mental health practitioners to assess, as there is no set criteria to screen for it and is quite subjective. The type of treatment for high-functioning depression varies greatly, as it affects people in a myriad of subtle ways. This is why it is important to be open and communicative with your doctor or mental health practitioner when you feel something is “just not right.” In general, self-care, anxiety management, building self efficacy, resiliency and self-confidence are part of managing high-functioning depression.
In short, the treatment is variable and many factors come into play, but with professional help from doctors and/or therapists, individuals are usually able to recover from or learn to effectively manage their high-functioning depression.
Research shows that the sooner people seek help with any type of depression, the better the results and recovery. As such, recognising the symptoms listed above and seeking help early on is key to overcoming and managing it. It is also important to understand that seeking help should never be seen as a sign of weakness or incompetence. There is no reason to suffer and hide, and everyone should be encouraged to get the help that is needed to live their best lives.
From The Finder (Issue 292), June 2018
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